Secretary of State for Health and Social Care delivers a statement setting out his mission for saving the NHS

Wes Streeting MP

When we said during the election campaign, that the NHS was going through the biggest crisis in its history, we meant it.

When we said that patients are being failed on a daily basis, it wasn’t political rhetoric, but the daily reality faced by millions.

Previous governments have not been willing to admit these simple facts. But in order to cure an illness, you must first diagnose it.

This government will be honest about the challenges facing our country, and serious about tackling them.

From today, the policy of this department is that the NHS is broken.

That is the experience of patients who are not receiving the care they deserve, and of the staff working in the NHS who can see that – despite giving their best – this is not good enough.

When I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, the NHS saved my life.

Today, I can begin to repay that debt, by saving our NHS.

I have just spoken over the phone with the BMA junior doctors committee, and I can announce that talks to end their industrial action will begin next week.

We promised during the campaign that we would begin negotiations as a matter of urgency, and that is what we are doing.

This government has received a mandate from millions of voters for change and reform of the NHS, so it can be there for us when we need it once again.

It will take time – we never pretended that the NHS could be fixed overnight.

And it will take a team effort. It will be the mission of my department, every member of this government, and the 1.4 million people who work in the NHS, to turn our health service around.

We have done this before. When we were last in office, we worked hand in hand with NHS staff to deliver the shortest waits and highest patient satisfaction in history. We did it before, and together, we will do it again.

That work starts today.

Published 5 July 2024